Thursday, May 12, 2011

Education- are Indian poor really getting help?

Indians have valued education since time immemorial. Today most poor know that education could be the way out of poverty. Government of India clearly brags that it has provided reservation and help for the poor  especially so called lower caste people to enable them to get an education. Indian government also brought out Right to Education law to enable all eligible children to get education as a right not as an optional extra. Although many poor can not afford to educate their children with the exorbitant cost of education, many poor are providing as much education as possible for their children. In a country where disability is not only a curse but a social and religious stigma, some parents even strive to provide education to their disabled children ( refer stories from Deccan Herald below).

However, the so called education system has failed majority of Indians utterly. This is statistically proven when Indian government statistics shows that only 11 percent of children below the age of 15 get any form of education. India has a population of 1.21 billion as per recent census. It is not a mean feat to educate a country with a population where 54% of the population is below the age of 30. Although average fertility rate is decreasing in India  unless urgent measures are taken to address the issue of education India despite its growth rate will not climb out of poverty anytime soon. It is projected that Indian population will increase and reach 1.7 billion by 2050. It is scary to think that Indian population will increase by another 200 million in the next 20 years. This will futher reduce access to education and access to services further.

Where is the hope? Indian government and media have to take urgent steps to enable poor merited students to get proper education. For every poor child that is educated there is an increase in income which helps the family and any siblings. This will help to reduce the poverty cycle at least to some extent. Despite government claims, its policies have clearly failed students shown below. It is high time public took the future of India by its horn and enabled the merited youth and children to get educated and not nip their talent and potential in the bud. Media has a role to play by setting up educational trusts and enable such merited kids to further their education. If Indians want to live peacefully and enable the society to have a harmonious existence all those who can afford to need to contribute to the education of these children and youth. Time for blame is over. It is high time Indians started to act.
Lip service is no longer enough.

Talent born in a mud hut
Mudalagi (Bijapur), May 11, DHNS:

Shivananda Shetty lives in a small mud hut that has no electricity. At night he studies with the help of an oil lamp.

Against all odds: Shivananda Shetty with his mother Chandravva in their home at  Saidapura. DH PhotoHis mother Chandravva uses firewood to cook food on a primitive earthen stove.

The grinding poverty has not proved a constraint to Shivananda who has scored 98 per cent marks in PUC Science stream.

The boy from Saidapura hamlet near Mudalagi in Bijapur district, who got 94.48 per cent in his SSLC, has surpassed himself in PU, scoring 99 in Physics and Maths, and 96 in Chemistry.

Shivananda was an infant when his father Balappa deserted the family, never to return. Mother Chandravva worked as a labourer and brought up her son, who dreams of becoming an engineer and do his IAS. But the boy is in dire need of financial help. Those who wish to help him, can contact his teacher and guide, B H Haliyal on cell no. 9008477705.

PU achievers:
Poverty may topple topper's degree dreams
C K Mahendra, Tumkur, May 11, DHNS

From rural Karnataka, some stories of talent and courage trumping penury

ShilpakShilpakalala has secured the third rank in the arts stream of the II PU exam, but the outlook for her hopes of doing her BA and becoming an IAS officer appears bleak, as her family wants to marry her off.

For her family that scrou­nged for money to finance her PU education, funding further education may be difficult. For Shilpakala, who will need Rs 30 a day to go to degree college in Tumkur, besides the fees, doing BA looks a distant dream.

Early in her life, Shilpakala developed the trick of focusing in class. That helped her absorb all that her teachers had to offer in terms of guidance. She slept for just three hours at night between 1 am and 4 am, studying all the while. Her marks sheet speaks for itself, with a score of above 90 in all subjects and a total of 560 out of 600.

With such enviable scores, she was on course for a repeat performance in her degree, but for the utter poverty back home, where two square meals is a luxury. A student of Basaveshwara Kendriya Samyukta PU College at Kolala in Urdigere hobli in Koratagere taluk, Shilpakala’s parents were bonded labourers even as recently as five years ago.

Their meagre earnings as coolies sustain the family. The girl used to go on an empty stomach to college, six km from home. Her first meal of the day would be only after returning home in the afternoon.

Shilpakala secured 86 per cent in her SSLC and wanted to join the science stream in PUC. But she had to be content joining the arts stream in the college, because she got free admission with a promise to subsidise her education. Shilpakala’s economics teacher, S Rajanna, helped the girl a great deal.

Shilpakala says it will be difficult for her family to send her to college, as they were already supporting her brother’s course at an industrial training institute. For them, marrying her off is a better option as that would mean one mouth less to feed. It was, therefore, no surprise when the news of her stellar performance in class XII spurred her parents to draw up Shilpakala’s marriage plans, instead of asking her to buy the application form for the BA course.

They are already working on a couple of alliance proposals. If no one comes forward to sponsor her education before the proposals fructify, Shil­pakala will have to start preparing for the wedding and her career dreams will turn to dust.

Those who wish to help Shilpakala realise her dreams call: 8861441186.

Indigent, intelligent, they dream big
Bidar, May 11, DHNS:

Free board and lodge provided by their college helped Sharanappa and Mushtaq

Sharanappa Saibanna Pujar of Gurusanagi in Yadgir District, son of a cement factory worker, dares to dream despite the poverty of his family.

He has scored 85.83 per cent marks in the second PU Science examination and has made his parents proud. He has bagged 93 marks in Physics, 93 in Chemistry, 94 in Mathematics, 85 in Biology, 60 in English and 90 in Kannada.

The eldest among the three sons of Saibanna Pujar, a fireman at the Rajashree cement factory in Sedam taluk of Gulbarga district, Sharanappa hopes to become an engineer.

Saibanna Pujar manages his family on a modest salary of Rs 5,500 and has ensured that his children are educated.

Shaheen Pre-University College in Bidar, where Sharanappa studied, provided him free board and lodge.

His father is happy that his son has passed with flying colours. But he is concerned over his son’s future.

“I cannot afford to continue his studies. If only the Government or philanthropists give wings to his dreams....” he adds.
She never let herself ‘Down’
Udupi, May 11, DHNS:

Malavika Somayaji has proved that disability can never cripple the urge to make it big.

Malavika with writer VaidehiMalavika, who suffers from Down’s Syndrome, has successfully passed the II PU exams with a percentage of 45.

Her elder sister Madhura told Deccan Herald that Malavika studied at B M School in Parkala from class I to X. Malavika wrote her II PU exam as an external candidate. Madhura said Malavika’s future plans were yet to be decided. “We all are happy and Malavika is happier,” Madhura said.

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